Vegetable and Shrimp Angel Hair Pasta

There are few things that I make time and time again. This pasta dish is one of them. I recall making something sort of similar to this for the first time with my best friend. I enjoyed what we had made so much that I went home the next week really wanting to make something like it for my boyfriend. I took some memory of what my best friend and I did and came up with my own concoction, one that now included shrimp and many more vegetables. I didn’t have any recipe I was following, measurements or a plan in mind, I just got the ingredients I wanted and got to cooking.

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The end result: this delicious pasta dish that has onion, garlic, asparagus, tomato, artichokes and shrimp all coated in a light white wine sauce. It’s a mouthful to say all of what is in it, so I never really know what to call it (my boyfriend affectionately refers to it as “asparagus pasta,” I even cooked it for him on his birthday last year). To this day, I can’t get enough of this pasta. It’s so easy to make! It’s one of those things where you don’t really need to have exact measurements of anything, you can kind of eye ball whatever you have, and you can adjust all the ingredients to include more or less. You really can’t mess it up.

I feel guilty sometimes with the amount of pasta that I eat. On the bright side, this recipe is loaded with vegetables so I feel a little less guilty about how much pasta I eat when I make it. Trust me, you’ll want a second serving when you make this! I always make enough so that I have extra leftovers for the next day, so this recipe is for about 4 servings (and you’ll really want to make all those servings, too). This has truly become my signature pasta dish.

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Recipe

  • ~1 lb of asparagus, bottoms trimmed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of whole artichoke hearts, bottoms trimmed and cut lengthwise into quarters
  • 1 medium (or 1/2 large) onion, diced (note: any kind is suitable, but I prefer yellow/sweet)
  • 1 (1 dry pint) container of grape/plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise
  • ~5 cloves of garlic, minced and separated into a pile of about 4 cloves and a pile of about 1 clove
  • ~1 lb of shrimp, peeled
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, and a little extra for garnish
  • 1 cup white wine (I typically use Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/2 box angel hair pasta
  • 1.5 tsp of dried basil
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your asparagus by trimming off the bottoms. Lay the asparagus on a baking sheet that has been lined with tinfoil. Drizzle with about 1 tbsp of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover with another sheet of tinfoil. When oven is ready, put asparagus in oven for 15-17 minutes. I cook it for 15 minutes, since it will continue to cook in a pan later. When asparagus is done, remove it from the oven, and allow to cool enough to be handled safely. Cut the asparagus into about 1 inch long pieces, re-cover with foil and set aside.
  • In a large (and preferably deep) skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil (or enough to coat the bottom of the pan) and 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Once the pan is heated, add the onion. Allow the onions to cook for 3-5 minutes, or until they start to turn clear, stirring occasionally.
  • Keep the stove on medium heat and add about 4 cloves of garlic. Allow the garlic to become fragrant, stirring occasionally for about 1 minute. The onions should be clear, and starting to slightly brown at this point.
  • To the pan, add the tomatoes. Turn the heat up to medium-high and allow to cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once completed, turn the heat back down to medium and cover the pan so that the tomatoes can soften. Let simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the tomatoes to be soft, but still be slightly firm because they will continue to cook.
  • Remove the lid and add the prepared asparagus and artichokes to the pan, mix to incorporate.
  • Add the white wine, dried basil, salt and pepper. Mix everything around in the pan. Add 2 tbsp of butter to melt while reducing. Cover and allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes on a low-medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Remember, if you let the wine reduce too much, just add some more and allow to reduce again.
  • In a separate pan, while the wine is reducing, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter and put over medium heat. Add the garlic and allow to become fragrant, stirring for about 1 minute. Add the shrimp to the pan. Cook until the shrimp is pink and opaque. Depending on the size of the shrimp, it should cook for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Once the shrimp is cooked, add everything from that pan (oil, garlic, butter, shrimp) to the pan with the vegetables and simmering wine, and stir.
  • Add 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate the cheese. Allow to simmer on low while you cook your pasta.
  • Add your pasta to salted boiling water and allow to cook. For angel hair, this is typically 2-5 minutes, but follow what your box instructs for “al dente” say. Cook it “al dente” because the pasta is going to absorb some juices from the wine reduction and you don’t want to end up with mushy pasta! If you choose to use a different pasta, make sure to adjust when you prepare the pasta, so the vegetable/shrimp mix does not simmer for too long.
  • When pasta is finished cooking, strain it and return it to its pan. Remove your vegetable/shrimp mix from the heat. Add the vegetable/shrimp mix to the pasta pan and mix to incorporate. This allows the pasta to absorb all the yummy juices from the wine reduction.
  • Serve, topped with freshly grated parmesan and parsley. Enjoy!
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